The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Friction Labs Gorilla Grip Review

Friction Labs obviously goes the extra mile to ensure a consistent and quality product.
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Price:  $25 List | $4.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Consistent texture bag after bag, great friction
Cons:  Expensive
Manufacturer:   Friction Labs
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 29, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 8
  • Friction & Overall Feel - 25% 9
  • Coverage - 25% 8
  • Mess - 25% 8
  • Value - 25% 5

Our Verdict

Friction Labs Gorilla Grip is good stuff, providing an additive free, consistently textured product. It's hands down the most expensive brand of chalk we tested. We've all seen Friction Labs' ubiquitous marketing campaigns with athletes from every tear of the sport hawking this magic white dust in return for free chalk. We've seen the #chalkmatters all over our insta-feeds and the shiny packages that made us think our local gear shop has started selling coffee. Our most frugal testers approached this chalk with raised eyebrows of skepticism and came away confirming a touch of truth to the adage "you get what you pay for." In the case of Gorilla Grip, that's a bag of marble-sized chalk chunks that give a uniform crunchy feel in your chalk bag with very little variation from package to package.

If you don't want to pay top dollar for chalk then Black Diamond White Gold is the closest product in our review regarding texture but lacks the consistency of the Gorilla Grip. A bag of White Gold will have a more seemingly random assortment of chunks and dust.


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Pros Consistent texture bag after bag, great frictionWidely available, good texture and friction, nice priceExcellent value, good friction and coverageCoats hands well, least expensive "climbing specific" chalkGreat Coverage, Excellent friction, almost no dust
Cons ExpensiveEasy to spill, creates a lot of dustUnusable if you have cuts and abrasions on your handsLow friction, doesn't last as long as other chalks.Not a great value
Bottom Line Friction Labs obviously goes the extra mile to ensure a consistent and quality product.No bells and whistles with White Gold. This magnesium carbonite keeps your hands dry without costing an arm and a leg.This liquid chalk lets you apply a solid base layer of chalk on your hands without creating a cloud of dust.This chalk is the most cost effective way to keep your hands dry.When you need all the friction you can get, this chalk cream delivers.
Rating Categories Friction Labs Gorilla Grip Black Diamond White Gold Mammut Liquid Chalk Metolius Super Chalk Friction Labs Secret Stuff
Friction & Overall Feel (25%)
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Specs Friction Labs... Black Diamond... Mammut Liquid Chalk Metolius Super Chalk Friction Labs...
Resealable Packaging? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price Per oz $2.50/oz $1.03/oz $1.94/oz $0.80/oz $7.60/oz
Type Loose Loose Liquid Loose Liquid
Drying Additive No No No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


There's chalk in there  not coffee. Friction labs offer its chalk in three textures  fine  chunky  and super chunky. We opted to test the chunky flavor.
There's chalk in there, not coffee. Friction labs offer its chalk in three textures, fine, chunky, and super chunky. We opted to test the chunky flavor.

Friction & Overall Feel


Straight from the packaging and in hand, Gorilla Grip feels harder, crunchier and less powdery than the competition. On the plus side, chalk that chunky and less fine doesn't cake up on your hands or on the climbing holds like the chalk in the bottom of your bag that been there since last spring and has been ground down to moon dust. On the other hand, you'll need to grope around in your chalk bag a bit more to get as much chalk on your hands. It really depends on your preference, but considering Friction Labs sells chalk in three different texture varieties, you can bet that if you want crunchy chalk with a medium chunk, that's what you'll get every time with Gorilla Grip.

Consistency is what you're paying for with this chalk. Each bag contains mostly uniform marble-sized chunks
Consistency is what you're paying for with this chalk. Each bag contains mostly uniform marble-sized chunks

Coverage


As mentioned previously, this chalk doesn't cake up on your hands as much as chalk of a finer texture. In cool, dry conditions we felt like Gorilla Grip is the perfect texture, giving us that confidence inspiring crispy feel on the rock. In more humid conditions, we actually preferred it when more chalk caked up on our hands. In our blind testing on the hangboard, there was slightly less chalk left on our testers' hands after three reps on the slopers than chalk with a finer texture like BD White Gold or a grounded down block of Frank Endo Chalk. Compared to the chalk balls we tested, loose gorilla grip provided much more coverage. Check out the before and after photos below that show how much chalk is left after three 20-second hangs on sloper holds.

Here's what you can expect from a tablespoon of this chalk. Pretty good coverage.

Mess


Friction Labs uses some fancy packaging for its chalk, which has us wondering how much that contributes to the overall price. The packaging resembles a bag of coffee and is resealable in the same way- just roll it up and fold over the wire tabs. The mouth of the bag is conveniently small so it's easy to dump whatever amount you desire straight into your chalk bag. Since this is loose chalk, spillage and dust will be an issue, especially if most of your climbing is done indoors. Chunkier chalks don't pass through the cloth of a chalk ball as well as finer chalk, so you'll want to grind down your Gorilla Grip a bit before you put it in a refillable chalk ball, or you could purchase a bag of Friction Labs Unicorn Dust, the finest-textured chalk they sell.

Turns out the resealable coffee bag is a great delivery system. We could easily get the chalk in the bag without spilling it on the ground.
Turns out the resealable coffee bag is a great delivery system. We could easily get the chalk in the bag without spilling it on the ground.

Value


Friction Labs is the most expensive chalk in our review. You pay for consistency and a promise of additive free chalk (and maybe shiny packaging). If you buy into the whole #chalkmatters thing, you'll appreciate that you get the same thing every time. Our testers ranged from boulderers who swear by this stuff to a big wall free climber who said she couldn't tell one chalk from the next and would use whatever she could get for free. If you're on a tight budget, Metolius Super Chalk is the most chalk you'll get for your hard-earned dollar.

Best Applications


Do you begin your climbing day with a strict ritual of positive self-talk while pantomiming the beta for your project? Are your cams meticulously arranged by size, brand, and weight on a peg board in your garage? Do you wear rubber gloves in the shower to prevent your caluses from getting soft? Does your climbing kit for Indian Creek include tincture of benzene and eight rolls of tape? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you're likely going to appreciate the consistency and quality of Friction Labs' chalk. If you have no idea what we're talking about, you should grab the cheapest chalk you can find and just go climbing.

Conclusion


Friction Labs Gorilla Grip led to some of the most serious discussions about chalk we've ever had.

We debated endlessly about whether or not this chalk was worth the price  but we agreed that when the stakes are high  we never want to do without a bag of our favorite chalk.
We debated endlessly about whether or not this chalk was worth the price, but we agreed that when the stakes are high, we never want to do without a bag of our favorite chalk.


Matt Bento